Sustainable Scotland: Unique Highland nature project seeks green investors who are wild about the planet

A unique Scottish rewilding project which aims to tackle the climate crisis and loss of nature has launched a major crowdfunding campaign with a target to raise more than £8 million.

Highlands Rewilding is a ground-breaking ‘mass-ownership’ company with more than 2,000 acres of land stretching across two estates – Bunloit, in Inverness-shire, and Beldorney, in Aberdeenshire.

Its mission is to fight climate meltdown and reverse biodiversity collapse through large-scale restoration of the landscape, to provide green jobs, boost ecological research and help Scotland achieve environmental goals.

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It's hoped a mixture of local people, equity investors and financial institutions will buy in during the three-month fundraising drive, which will raise capital through sales of shares in the business – including all of its land and buildings. ‘Citizen rewilders’ can invest from as little as £50 up to £200,000.

The cash call is the second round of fundraising for Highlands Rewilding, which is the brainchild of eco-entrepreneur Dr Jeremy Leggett, a former scientific director at Greenpeace. More than 50 investors – including a Hollywood screenwriter and a world champion free-solo mountain climber – have already bought in, becoming the first shareholders in the firm with investments totalling £7.5 million.

Dr Leggett, founder and chief executive of Highlands Rewilding, said: “This round of funding is an exciting opportunity to significantly scale the project as we look to invest in more land, people, and further improve Scotland’s biodiversity in our efforts to combat the climate crisis and biodiversity collapse.

“We ideally want to have hundreds, if not thousands of shareholders from across the world, but especially Scotland, where we will continue to work as closely as we can with local Highland communities, including via joint ventures with community organisations.

“Our citizen rewilder option within the crowdfund allows for genuine co-ownership for a minimum amount of investment.”

Highlands Rewilding is selling shares in its Beldorney and Bunloit estates, with a mission to restore the landscape, reverse loss of nature and help tackle climate change

By managing its land for carbon and biodiversity uplift, Highlands Rewilding aims to provide shareholders with ethical capital returns while using the business as a model to encourage other landowners to adopt more environmentally friendly practices.

The company will be able to acquire further land as South Bunloit, Beldorney Castle and one other estate that provides biodiversity opportunities if the target amount is raised. If a significantly higher amount comes in, the team will look to acquire more or larger estates and so widen the scale of nature-recovery opportunities.

Additional funds would also take long-term goals – including plans to offer corporate nature recovery retreats on each estate; create eco-buildings, including affordable housing; and increase scientific research – a step closer.

Highlands Rewilding was founded by eco-entrepreneur Dr Jeremy Leggett, a former scientific director at Greenpeace, who has already attracted more than 50 investors and £7.5 million in funding

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